Have you ever tried to change a behavior and failed?
You wouldn’t be alone. Taking up a new behavior is hard. It takes time and it’s easy to get off-track. People sometimes wonder why they fail to follow through on a new resolution, when they know they really did want to start.
Often, it’s because they failed to track their progress and behavior.
Tracking is a fundamental aspect of behavior change. If you want to take up something new, get better at it, improve scores, or ensure that you spend more time at it … track it!
For instance, if you decided to learn the drums, you may choose to track your practice sessions. How long did you practice each day? Did you make it through that entire Led Zeppelin song you were learning? Keeping track makes it much more likely that you will practice like you told yourself you would.
There are a lot of tools at you can use: a graph, a calendar, daily planner, journal, notebook, website, mobile app — you name it!
Tracking is VERY useful when working toward new physical activity goals.
When I took up running, I tracked it on a calendar. Simple. Pen and paper. I measured my miles per week down to the tenth of a mile. So, for instance, if I ran 8.6 miles one week, I would aim to run somewhere in the neighborhood of 9.5 miles the next week. Tracking would let me know if I was progressing and being faithful to my new habit. It’s also a great way to show your progress and look back on your accomplishments.
Whatever the new healthy habit or hobby you want to track, here are some pointers to get started:
- Track objective measures, like miles, steps, or minutes.
- Track performance measures so you can see your skills progress.
- Track in a way that feels right for you.
- Keep the tracker visible and convenient to use.
If you’re a UPMC Health Plan member, you can even log in to MyHealth OnLine to use our free activity tracker to take note of your steps taken and calories burned.
To take physical activity tracking to the next level, enter to win a BodyMedia Fit device.